Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some kind of Wonderful

Remember when I told you that I had something wonderful going on this weekend. Yeah. You do. Well, I can tell you this much. It involves me and a pomegranate.

Before our relationship can begin, though, I need to figure out how to open the dern thing.

The mind is a powerful thing but apparently mine isn't that powerful.

A sumo wrestler, I am not. A throw down between me and the pomegranate did not happen.

My blender is awesome for smoothies and, err, margaritas but the pomegranate was too big to get near the blades.

Warning: Don't try this at home. A hot pomegranate isn't all that hot. Or edible.

I call my bike the Green Envy but its superpowers are only good for looks. No pomegranate-opening here.
I decided to let Denali give it a go. After all, he's eaten everything for an entire corn cob to a half-tub of margarine.

He gave up but decided to keep the pomegranate. He thought it complemented his coloring.

I guess I - well, we - have figured out all the ways not to open a pomegranate. Now, we must work on doing it the right way.

Have a Wonderful Saturday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday love

Pre-workout breakfast: Mish-mash of cereal with skim milk and a banana
Workout: Ran 3.62 miles (average pace, 8:33) and 30 minutes of yoga

This morning, I got out of bed, stretched and prepared to hobble to the bathroom. Much to my surprise, I really didn't have to hobble. My legs were nearly pain-free - the first time in a week! It was so glorious to walk around the house, pouring my bowl of cereal (my newest obsession) and making my cup of coffee without creaking and crying.

Of course, the day's workout plan - run and Jackie Warner - threatened to make that glory just a thing of the past. So I made a decision. A good decision. I decided to take it easy. I did a short run and stretched out my legs with yoga.

Oh, rest. I love you. Almost as much as Friday.

Food. I have something wonderful going on. Very, very wonderful going on. Too bad I'm not going to give it away just yet ;)

Fitness. I complained about my blister. I've complained about sore legs. However, I have to say that things could have been a lot worse after the W.O.O.F. Who do I have to thank? The folks at Recovery Socks. I bought the pair at the RnR Chicago expo and since then, the pair have been a post-long run recovery miracle. I rarely gimp around after big runs and only complain that my "butt" hurts. (It's really the very top of my hamstring where my thigh meets my booty.) If you don't have these - or other compression socks - you need them.

Life. You might hate me when I tell you this. Really, you might. I don't do laundry - at least not often. I also do about a third of the dishes and touch the vacuum once every other month. Why? Because I don't have to. Mark picks up a huge amount of my slack around the house as long as I provide him with tasty, tasty meals. This morning, for instance, he unloaded the dishwasher and started a load of laundry. He did ask me to put the wash in the dryer but it's a small price to pay for such a lovely husband.

To thank him, I'm going to drag myself (ha!) to "Due Date" this weekend and possibly the Indian buffet. Whose doing something fun?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three Things Thursday

Pre-workout fuel: Luna Chocolate Cherry Almond Protein Bar
Workout: Ran 5.52 miles in 48 minutes, 50 seconds; average pace, 8:50.

1. It could be Jackie Warner's tough workouts or the fact that I had zero to nill recovery after the W.O.O.F. but today was an absolute slug fest. My legs felt tired, and I felt slow. About the halfway point, when I had to stop for a traffic light, I just decided that it didn't matter how fast I ran. Does anyone really care? Do you care if I run at an 8:30 pace or an 8:50? Do you like me less? I'm guessin' (and hopin') that the answer is no.

The funny thing is, though, once I "released" myself, I ran faster. I ran the definition of negative splits today. Go figure!

2. Even though I didn't lurve this run I did lurve that I had a running buddy. Mark! He didn't have school today (that sissy) because it is Veterans Day. He asked me last night what "our" workout was and agreed to be ready 7 a.m. for 5 miles. Pretty awesome.

3. On a completely non-running note, it's not even Thanksgiving and my hands already rival the coat of a Komodo dragon. Dry. Cracked. Gross. The spot under my wedding bands is peeling, and I really don't want have to do what I did last year. Oh, what was that, you ask. I had to take 'em off and pretend I was a single girl. Any tips for dry skin?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Let me hear you scream

Pre-workout breakfast: Oikos Honey Greek yogurt with banana slices and crushed Quaker True Delights Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut bar
Workout: "Personal Training with Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training" and 2.2-mile walk with Denali

You wanna know a secret. A big, juicy, delicious secret ...

I eat ice cream every day. Every. Single Day. Kind of weird, right? Yet totally awesome, too.

I knew that when I embarked on this journey that deprivation was not the key. I had done that before and all it got me was four years of playing with 25 pounds. Now, I make calculated indulgences - Vitatops, low-fat pudding, Skinny Cows, Weight Watcher frozen treats and pumpkin fluff.

Oh, and a delicious concoction of Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice cream, graham cracker crumbs, caramel and whipped cream.

Yeah, that happened to me last night. I heard an ad for Cold Stone Creamery on Pandora, which led me to check out their website ... which led me to dream of it as I sweltered in the office ... which led me to e-mail my mother-in-law to see if they wanted to meet Mark and me for an ice cream-Barnes and Noble date.

She said yes. Cold Stone was on. Yay!

Now, I will say that I could have gotten sinless sweat cream ice cream with berries and blah, blah, blah BUT sometimes you just gotta have what you want and like it.

And I did.

What's your favorite indulgence?

Mine is definitely ice cream, especially this time of year - pumpkin, peppermint, egg nog ... yeah. Yeah!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can I see your ID?

I often run alone (unless you count Denali).

I run in the early morning hours.

I have almost been hit by a car too many times to count.

I took a nasty spill, courtesy of Denali, that forced me to run 2 miles home with blood dripping down my leg.

And yet, in all those instances, it wasn't what I - or anyone else - was doing that was posing such a risk. It was what I wasn't doing. I wasn't wearing a Road ID.

I know, I know. Stupid. So stupid. And the thing is, I've mentioned to Mark that I wanted one on numerous occasions and never followed through. I guess boots were more important.

No more, though. I was (again) the lucky recipient on a giveaway (thanks, Caratunk Girl!) and have ordered my very own Road ID. In green - my favorite color.

I included phone numbers for Mark and Grandma as well as a little quote. "Will to succeed," it will say.

What does yours say?

What? What! You don't have one? Well, I got a coupon for you: ThanksKimberly861459.

This coupon is good for $1 off any Road ID order. It can be used up to 20 times in the next 30 days. Feel free to send this coupon via email, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, town crier, or good ole fashion smoke signal. Just use it.

Blister in the sun

Pre-workout breakfast: 1 serving Cinnabon cereal with skim milk and a banana
Workout: Ran 4.92 miles in 43 minutes and 2 seconds; average pace, 8:45.

I looked pretty fierce in my Recovery Socks at Saturday's race I have to say. They even earned me the title of Most Fashionable Runner from one of the volunteers.

The socks also earned me something else.

If you can't tell, that's one nasty blister on the ball of my left first. It's my first real blister from running. Seriously. I never got a blister - not when I was running in craptastic $20 Adidas shoes or when I did the Flying Pig in the rain. Run in Recovery Socks and BOOM! I get one fun blister.

I have to say, though, it's not all that painful. I didn't even notice it until I put on shoes for work yesterday. And the pain was minimal when I ran this morning. The pain in my foot at least. The legs and upper body said otherwise. (I curse you, Jackie Warner!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

To the Xtreme

Pre-workout breakfast: Bowl of Cinnabon cereal and a banana
Workout: 30 minutes "Personal Training with Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training" and 2.2-mile walk with Denali

Jackie Warner ... oh, that lady ... she's just mean. Mean. And hardcore.I've been discussing my purchase of her DVD for a week or so now, and this morning I decided to give it a go. Sure, my legs were still a bit tired from Saturday's race but my arms wanted a workout.

"I'll be fine," I thought. "Just do what you can."

Yeah, doing what I can meant the "less intense" modifications for a number of the moves. It's not that I couldn't do the exercises. No, I could. I just couldn't do them for the minute straight as required by Jackie, especially when I had worked the same muscle group the minute before. It's total muscle burnout. And then you move onto the next fiber-torturing exercise to do the same thing.

And you want to know the worst part? I thought I was in shape. I've been committed to upper body work twice a week for six months. I could go through many a DVD with little to no fatigue. (I guess that's my fault - bad choices.) I can do a real push-up. I use weights from 5 pounds to 10 pounds. I have muscle definition. No matter. My shoulders, chest, biceps were all screaming at the end.

Jillian Michaels - eat your heart out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The W.O.O.F.: Recap style

I'm going to warn you - I just balanced the checkbook, and my mind feels like mush. But I want to give you the dirt on the W.O.O.F. I do! I do!

The details
The W.O.O.F. is a trail race with a 5.3-mile loop at Ouabache State Park in Bluffton, Indiana. The trail itself didn't seem that technically difficult. Sure, there were roots and leaves but the ground was dry and it was mostly flat.

The race started at 10 a.m., a good time as it was about a 50-minute drive to the state park. I got up at 7 a.m. and had a slice of peanut butter toast and a banana just to tide me over to my "in-car" eats (a S'mores Luna Bar and the rest of the banana). I had a half-cup of coffee at home and a cup on the way.

I figured with a later race start and forecast in the upper 40s that I would be OK with a long sleeve shirt, a short-sleeve tech on top, capri tights and gloves and headband. Boy, was I wrong! In the time it took to get from the car to the pavilion where I picked up my bib, I want from comfy to FREEZING. To be expected - the temperature was still in the 20s. I decided to run in my recovery socks for added warmth, much to the chagrin of other runners.

The first loop
I tried to tell myself that I wouldn't go out too fast, that I would pace myself - all those things we promise before a race. And like many promises, I broke it. I went out fairly strong and tried to stay on the heels of some of the other runners. There was maybe a group of five but most of the participants were far ahead of us.

I nearly tripped within the first mile, so caught up in whatever, and I thought I rolled my ankle. I kept running because, well, that's what I do and the pain seemed to dissipate quickly. From then on I did my best to keep my gaze 10 feet ahead.

The loop seemed to take forever - about two-tenths longer than marked - and I couldn't have been more excited to see Mark. I decided to ditch my scarf and gloves and keep going.

The second loop
From this point on, I have to say it was a wee bit boring. Though the course was absolutely beautiful, I was literally running in the woods by myself. Volunteers handing out water and keeping an eye on traffic (where the trail crossed the road) seemed to be my only interaction. I have to say that all of the volunteers were very encouraging and kind. It makes me feel bad, too, because I was a bit short when one offered to throw away my Watermelon Gu Chomps because she thought I was holding trash.

I did have a moment on the second loop, as 11 miles neared on the Garmin, where my mental endurance was challenged. I had been out there for 1.5 hours+, scaled a wall of hay twice (total of 3 - once each loop) and I was kind of unnerved with a sense of loneliness.

Once again, seeing Mark was a great boost and I made funny faces at him as I passed. I kept going and knew that this was the point of no return.

The third loop
I was actually feeling pretty good as I set off for the last of the run. And I kept feeling good as I saw myself pass the 14-mile mark - definitely the farthest I had ever run. From there, though, it was a bit of a challenge. My hamstrings and butt hurt. And by the time I hit the wall of hay, I was exhausted. The volunteers telling me I was almost there didn't help either.

But I kicked it up after that. I wanted to finish. Now let me tell you something - kicking it up at this point meant running faster than the previous mile, which was the slowest I've ran in months.

I was proud that I was able to pull out a strong finish and just 35 seconds shy of my A++++++ goal of 2:30.

Finishing strong

The timing chip gets removed.

Final thoughts

This race tested me mentally and physically but I am so glad I did it. The volunteers were great, the course was well marked and there was great post-race food (cider, coffee, bison burgers, stew, corn muffins, fruit, water). It was also a small field, allowing me to take first in my age group and 16th overall. I will say that it gets a bit lonely on the course and, if I were to do it again, I'd go with one loop or do it as a relay.